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I have not forgotten.

My bridal gown was huge and gorgeous. And also impractical. I could hardly go anywhere on my own, and my dad had just told me to stay put or else the wedding guests would see me before the ceremony.

Before he left I requested, for the third time, that he go find one of my bridesmaids for me. He said he'd try.


And then I was alone.

No cell phone.

I was hungry. There was no food and no way to contact anyone for food.

I felt panic begin to rise.

*You're okay*
I reassured myself. *You're not really alone. Someone will be by soon.*

The minutes dragged on. I was alone. I couldn't move and I was alone. I couldn't eat and I was alone. I couldn't contact anyone, and I was alone.


A familiar silent scream emerged from the darkness and remained in the back of my head like a nearby emergency siren. I spent years of my life listening to that every second of every minute of every day. The overwhelmingly desperate need to escape your situation, and yet entirely powerless to do so. Screaming internally nonstop because there is nothing you can do, and yet, it is unbearable.

And you are alone with your suffering.

I couldn't take it any longer. I forced my logical brain to think through the haze of the flashback. This time I am capable of resolving this, I told myself firmly. Suddenly I decided my sanity was more important than the guests potentially glimpsing the bride before the wedding started. And so I picked up my gigantic dress and train in both hands, and headed in the direction of people.


My dad spotted me first. "Get back inside!" he says sternly, the stress of the Big Day evident.

It takes every ounce of mental fortitude I have to focus my thoughts. "I am having a PTSD reaction and I REALLY need one of my bridesmaids", I communicate.

"They're busy", he states matter-of-factly.

"Well they're supposed to be busy helping me!" In hindsight that retort felt a bit closer to bridezilla than I'd like, but it was true nonetheless.

He left to go see what he could do, and I was left alone again. I paced outside, unable to stay still, the eyes of the curious public on me. I willed my face to not betray how I was crawling out of my own skin.

Finally, the face of a familiar old friend, asking what I needed help with. The moment we were alone and she embraced me I lost it. The silent scream was no longer silent. I was hysterical, sobbing, shrieking in terror, eyes wide, body cringing away from the invisible forces that threatened to crush my very existence. My chest felt like it was exploding from the pain. My entire body shook uncontrollably.


I don't know how long it took for me to calm down. It was a while. As soon as I could, I explained that I could not be left alone, it was a trigger to all those years of severe illness.

The flashback was disorienting in its intensity. I was overcome with nausea as my body spasmed, as if attempting to figure out how to put itself back together after such severe trauma. "What happened?" others who had heard my screams poked their heads in, concerned. "PTSD", was all I could manage to reply.

After the crying came the numbness. My emotions were all wrung out. I had nothing left. It took every ounce of focus not to vomit. "It's okay", my friend assured me. "They can't start the ceremony without you."

Another person entered. "They've started the ceremony."

My stomach dropped, and I heaved towards the bucket someone had helpfully placed nearby.

I can do this, I told myself. I'm not letting PTSD ruin my wedding.


With one last deep breath I stood up, stepped out, and walked down the aisle towards the rest of my life and dreams.


SO moving and touching, I cannot put my own reaction into words. Thank you, for writing about it and for sharing it.
ANd I knew the moment I saw your posted link, BEFORE I even came and read this blog post of yours, that I was VERY glad that you had not allowed the PTSD to take your wedding and the immense marriage blessing, away from you. That, even though it is there, that you have chosen not to let it run your life and make all of your decisions. That you are finding a way to reach and to grasp, the incredibly wonderful parts of life that you are presented with, especially the extremely meaningful experience of marriage, in spite of it all. You didn't let it rob you of your priceless moments. Your priceless life. It does take a lot of courage. I am very thankful that you have it.
Ah, you did so well, congratulations on your marriage but also for your strength. I am so happy for you that you were able to go on with your wedding & enjoy the wonderful event. You let nothing rob you from enjoying the actual wedding with your new husband. Stay strong, hugs, Denise
oh, Dainty...congratulations on managing this horror. and then writing about it. Congratulations on your wedding, and the bravery it took to do the whole big white dress thing. Best wishes to you and your hubby. xo

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